PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The monkey is officially off the back. The Stanford Cardinal have an interception. Hallelujah.
"It was huge," said safety Michael Thomas, the recipient of Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen's wayward pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Stanford was one of three teams left in the nation to not have an interception this season, along with Akron and Utah State. There must have been something in the air, because both of those teams picked up their first picks of the year as well.
It was the 172nd passing attempt this year against the Cardinal that finally yielded the airborne turnover.
"We've been making jokes about it the whole time so I'm glad it happened," Thomas said.
The Cardinal were flagged with three personal fouls -- one from Levine Toilolo, another from Cameron Fleming and a third from Jonathan Martin. This a few days after head coach David Shaw said he addressed penalties with his team. In all, Stanford was flagged five times for 65 yards.
"I only saw one of the three so I can't really comment," said Shaw, not revealing which one. "It was close enough for the official to call it. It's on us to make sure we're coaching it right."
Quarterback Andrew Luck was a bit more blunt.
"It's our fault," he said. "Nowhere else to point the finger except at ourselves. It's boneheaded by our team when we do that. Luckily we were able to bounce out of that hole in certain situations. But you can't win consistently playing like that."
The bouncing ball
Luck threw his second interception of the season and once again, it came off the hands of Chris Owusu and into the hands of an awaiting defender. The interception against Duke was a tougher ball, thrown a little bit behind Owusu. This time it was right on his hands.
"Chris will tell you he's disappointed by it," Luck said. "The ball bounced in the air and the DB made a nice catch."
Tiger Woods and John Elway made appearances on the sidelines. Not that the Stanford players saw.
"I barely noticed," said Thomas.
Added Luck: "It's awesome to hear that. That's great. (Elway) was an honorary captain last year. We got to talk a little bit. Not as much as I'd like. He was one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He's my hero. He was the best."
Colorado coach Jon Embree on his team's loss: "I expected more. I understand the circumstances (injuries and suspensions). I don't accept them, but I understand them. We've just got to keep trying to find a way. Kickoff was scheduled for 4:30 and whatever you've got, you've got to go out there and find a way to compete. I'm disappointed."